A couple of months ago, a frequent commenter sent me an interesting e-mail. Joseph Sangl said he was going through the process of writing a book. Two weeks ago, his book arrived in the mail. There are a few bloggers with book deals, but this is the first book from a blogger that I actually held in my hand. It has a very compelling title, "I Was Broke, Now I'm Not." The book is self-published, you can buy it from JosephSangl.com.Â While you are there you might want to give his blog a read.
I spent two hours reading the book from cover to cover. I actually had time to stop and return a few e-mails, turn down a low-ball offer from someone looking to buy this site, and optimize this site to load slightly faster. I also took notes along the way. And I'm a very, very, slow reader. I think the average reader could probably finish this book in an hour.
There were some thing that I didn't necessary agree with. That's not to say that they were wrong, it's just that I have a different viewpoint. It's worth noting that my view is clouded by the fact that I've never been in significant debt. Here are some of them:
- Budgeting - About 90% of the book is about budgeting. He makes a point that one who does not budget is probably broke (pg. 45). I know a lot of people that don't budget. I would be included in that group. I even wrote that you might not need a budget in the past.
- Dave Ramsey and Debt Snowball - I really hate to read about the "debt snowball." Why? Because Dave Ramsey is Bad at Math. If the math points me to a better of way of doing things that's what I do.
- The Message to Use Cash - For the intended audience, those in debt, this is a good message. However some people are able to get a free $500 for using a credit card. The key is to be in a position to pay off the card at the end of the month.
- Religion - The book got a little heavy on religion for my tastes. I've always thought that one's religious belief system should not be a factor in your financial freedom - unless your full-time vocation is religious in nature.
- Pickle Jar of Change - You know I'm getting picky when I bring this up. Joseph Sangl had a co-worker that used $5 bill each day on a vending machine at work. He pocketted the change and put it in a jar. When he cashed in the jar, he was debt-free. This was written as a positive story. I couldn't help but think how much the vending machine mark-up was. I imagine that he was spending over a dollar (or else he would use a dollar), which makes me think that he might have saved himself $150 a year if he just bought at a store and brought the product into work.
With those hard parts out of the way, here are the things that I loved:
- His Enthusiasm - In the conclusion, he wrote that he's poured himself into the book. He didn't need to write it because it came off of every word on every page.
- His Personal Story - You get a good view of Mr. Sangl's life. You understand where he came from,the obstacles he faced, and the solutions he found. This gives you complete picture on how you might be able to duplicate his success.
- Budgeting - While I put it in the above, this also fits down here. It's a very solid and thorough guide to budgeting.
- Housing Chart - On page 15 there's a great way to visualize mortgage payments. I can't tell you more without giving it away. You'll have to read the book.
- Dream Chart - He's got another chart on page 85 that I will call the dream chart. It's geared to getting out of debt, but I could see it useful for achieving any goal. For instance, I think I'll adapt it to my retirement goals.
- Planning and Protection - Sangl has some very good analogies on planning ahead and protecting yourself against emergencies
Though I've never heard Mr. Sangl speak in person, I imagine that his book is a great complement to the message of responsible finances that he's spreading.
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